The objections we’ve read and heard have tended to be ideological, not practical. Any reasonable person reading the objectives of the panel will recognize that the document deserves careful consideration and extensive debate.
Its recommendations, while unlikely to be enacted in their original form, aim to stabilize the economy, extend the life of Social Security and Medicare and eventually eliminate the deficit.
The panel sets out a list of guiding principles and values with which no red-blooded American can disagree:
“We have a patriotic duty to come together on a plan that will make America better off tomorrow than it is today,” the document begins.
“America cannot be great if we go broke. Our economy will not grow and our country will not be able to compete without a plan to get this crushing debt burden off our back.
“Throughout our history, Americans have always been willing to sacrifice to make our nation stronger over the long haul. That’s the promise of America: to give our children and grandchildren a better life.”
Who could disagree with that?
The document continues:
“American families have spent the past 2 years making tough choices in their own lives. They expect us to do the same. The American people are counting on us to put politics aside, pull together not pull apart, and agree on a plan to live within our means and make America strong for the long haul.”
That’s the introduction. What it tells us about the commission is that its members are serious about their job, they understand their task and they are careful to make sure their recommendations are clear and understandable to the people who will be affected by the changes they recommend.
They do not sugarcoat the problem or soft-pedal their solutions. Rather, they give it to us straight:
“The problem is real — the solution is painful — there’s no easy way out — everything must be on the table — and Washington must lead.”
The panel warns that failure to stabilize and then reduce the national debt could lead to spending $1 trillion a year in interest alone by the year 2020.
“A sensible, real plan,” the panel says, “requires shared sacrifice — and Washington should lead the way and tighten its belt.”
The panel further states, “It is cruelly wrong to make promises we can’t keep. …Without regard to party, we need to be willing to tell Americans the truth.”
The deficit-reduction plan the document outlines presents some hard choices, recognizing that everyone must give up something but making sure that no one has to give up everything. Yes, it proposes cuts to defense spending. Yes, it proposes raising the retirement age — gradually to 69 years old by the year 2075. Yes, it would reduce the overall size of the federal government. But it also invests in education, infrastructure and research and development. It promotes productivity and efficiency. It seeks to simplify the tax code, broaden the tax base and lower tax rates; to reduce the growth of healthcare costs, ensure that Social Security remains solvent while “reducing poverty among seniors,” and “make America the best place to start and run a business and create jobs.”
We recommend that every Daily Home reader read the draft proposal online.
The document is 50 pages, but it is printed in very large type and some of the pages are charts and tables. Reading the entire document will take less than one hour. Some of it, to be sure, is arcane economics, but most of it is written in clear, simple, straight-forward American English.
The debate of this document is the most important discussion taking place in America today, and you need to take part in it.